6 Keys to Effective All Age Worship – #4 – Make it Regular

  1.  Make it Regular
They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity – all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. Acts 2:46-47
The Church doesn’t match this kind of “regular” anymore.  I mean, come on – EVERY day.  I get on with people at Church, but . . . seriously? It saddens me when I hear of churches making a big deal of having to get together for All Age Worship . . . it’s like there is no choice at Christmas and Easter . . . . but, can we get back to normal now and have our own thing (“own thing” meaning children, young people and adults in separate spaces). The thing is, if we are going to aim for the best when we get together for all age worship we need to ditch this attitude.  “Regular” does not mean all the time, every week . . . but it is about being faithful and consistent.  Committing to being together as part of what we declare about being the Body of Christ.  We are less of what we could be when we are not together . . . Having said that, regular does not need to mean frequent . . . it is better to give it everything a few times a year and actually look forward to it than feel that you have no choice and grimly go ahead with a monthly gathering that is thrown together an nobody enjoys. So, here are some key reasons for making it regular :: :: Build a Pattern.  You have to do something more than once to get a sense of how it is going.  IF you have not properly had a crack at All Age worship for a few years it is no good just doing a one off . . . give a YEAR to it and do at least FOUR during that time.  Begin to create a shape and pattern that people can get used to, build in some familiar features – but don’t experiment with one – allow it time to “bed in”. :: Get with the Seasons.  There are some great seasonal things you can get stuck in to . . . Easter and Christmas being taken as a given!  Not ALL seasonal stuff needs to be a Christian festival for you to make something of it with an All Age worship . . . some things might even gather a crowd of people who don’t usually attend Church (think Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Harvest, All Hallows, Pentecost) . . . Yes, Pentecost is in there . . . and, a quick aside, but I think Pentecost is a GREAT time to get everyone together . . . the whole Church needs to hear these verses,
This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentiles–all who have been called by the Lord our God. Acts 2:39
This is Peter’s great preach at what we now call Pentecost, the birth of the Church . . . here he has just finished quoting Joel and adds this line saying who it applies to.  The word “children” here is the word teknon – which means an actual child, or children – not just the next generation at some point in the future when they grow up and are adults . . . the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is for every age in the Church!  The kids aren’t out in some other room doing colouring while God is meeting powerfully with the adults!  What a great reminder to the Church – Pentecost should be a feature in every churches “All Age Worship” calendar! :: Model what you want to see.  How ever fantastic our age appropriate groups and teaching are – there is no comparison in terms of teaching and modelling than seeing families do stuff together like praying for each other and worshipping and serving and giving and loving alongside each other.  Here is a quote from a key book that should be on every church leaders shelf, “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasy Dean,
“The best way for young people to become more serious about their faith is for their parents to become more serious about their faith.”
Kids need to see their parents meet with God in worship, they need to see them pray, they need to see them engage with scripture, they need to see that Jesus is of paramount importance in their lives.  When do they see a glimpse of that?  In all age worship.  It is also a great place to encourage parents with things they might find difficult when in their homes if they have not done it much . . . the Church has taken on a mantle of feeding their children spiritually, lots of parents are out of practice or have never engaged with their own children about faith and worship and the Christian life . . . the Church does that.  In age appropriate groups.  So we don’t have to.  Argh!!  As church leaders, children’s workers, pastors etc – if you have responsibility for All Age Worship . . . build the confidence of parents around engaging with their own children in matters of faith – it is ESSENTIAL! Disasters with regular – it’s not rocket science, I have mentioned it already . . . don’t do too many if delivering something great is going to be a stretch, better doing four really well across a year than twelve that nobody wants to be at – including you.  Also, DON’T use All Age Worship as a cop out . . . so it is the summer holidays, everyone is in together . . . the children’s team need a break so the kids “stay in” – but, it isn’t All Age . . . they just sit through what the adults normally do . . . this is modelling something entirely different and is a poor, poor message to our children! I did a bit of a switcheroo on what today was going to be, so tomorrow is “Give Them A Takeaway!”